The Balinese Priest’s Bell

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My Balinese Priest’s Bell accompanied by a photograph of its creator

The Indonesian island of Bali first crossed my travel radar when I read Karen Kingston’s inspirational book “Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui,” around 1996. Karen’s book quickly propelled me to London, and two of her weekend workshops on Spaceclearing – the art of cleansing and purifying the CHI or energy in buildings or places.

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A procession through Ubud’s Sacred Monkey Forrest – offerings are carried on the head

Karen lived part of the year on Bali, which is steeped in the traditions of creating sacred space. I learned that the Balinese create daily healing rituals, making offerings on sacred altars to their Gods, and using sound energy from sacred bells to polish CHI. Balinese bells have a unique sound that creates a beautiful energy wherever they are used.

I felt compelled to buy a Balinese bell from Karen. I eventually bought two!

I began to use my sacred bells on a regular basis in my home, and in my shop and healing centre, which was located in Stirling, Scotland. I have already mentioned in a past post New Beginnings how two Indian ladies commented on the energy of the building saying, “the energy in your shop is like a temple.”

I continued to use both Balinese bells in many sacred ceremonies over the years, and hoped that one day I too would visit Bali.

In 2013, my dream came true when I spent 39 days on this beautiful island. I planned 9 days by the sea at the resort of Seminyak, to acclimatise to the heat and release any jet lag. The remainder of my visit would be spent in Ubud, the cultural and creative hub of the island.

The highlight of my time in Seminyak was seeing my hotel’s staff perform a healing ceremony for the full moon. The preparations began in early morning, with everyone gathered in their best attire – the women in jewel coloured lace tops with contrasting sashes and beautiful sarongs. The men wore less colourful sarongs with crisp shirts. There was much busyness for several hours, as series of baskets were piled high with fruit and flowers, and placed on several altars in the hotel grounds.

Finally, everything was in place for the ceremony.

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The full moon ceremony in Seminyak

I watched spellbound through my bedroom window, as a Balinese priest, dressed in brilliant white, began to recite prayers, while holding a bell and ringing it ceremoniously over his heart. I felt incredibly privileged to witness this replica of my own Balinese bells, and I understood why the hotel held such a peaceful ambience.

My time in Ubud was filled with yet more blessings. I stayed in a beautiful boutique hotel or homestay located in the village of Nyuh Kuning, near the home of Ketut Liyer, the healer who found fame in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Eat, Pray, Love”.

A few days into my stay, I was asked by the homestay staff, “Would you like to make some offerings today?”

Of course, I replied in the affirmative.

Later, Iput and Njurah patiently explained how to make small woven baskets from bamboo leaves, while I followed their instructions. It was quite a precise technique, and I took several attempts to make a decent basket, before Njurah finally announced, “Now, you can fill it with flowers.”

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Offerings class with Iput and Njurah

I copied him and gathered a small bundle of red, then orange, pink and purple flowers and laid them in my basket. Finally, I topped them with some green foliage, chopped into delicate strips. All the colours had been dictated by Bali’s own version of Feng Shui called Tri Hita Karana.

Eventually, I completed four baskets of offerings and then placed them on four separate altars, whilst offering up my own private prayers. I placed one before Ganesh, the elephant god, who is associated with good fortune and often graces Balinese shops. His statue guarded the swimming pool and several of the other homestay shrines.

I share many other highlights of my first trip to Bali in my memoir “Watching the Daisies.”  Thankfully, I returned to this beautiful island in 2014, staying in Ubud for a full month.

I will post two more stories from the island of Bali – Petulu’s Sacred Herons and A Balinese Royal Cremation Ceremony.

 


79 thoughts on “The Balinese Priest’s Bell

  1. Beautiful tripand memories. I am inspired by your learning. I try and let in fresh air in the house, i read in a book that cleanses the house.

    Side track a while back u wrote about sea salt and placing it around the house. Can you remind me why and where to place salt in the house.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Bella. Salt cleanses the chi in your home. If you put a small dish with around a tablespoon of seasalt in each room of your house. Leave it for a few days then discard the salt down the toilet. You will likely get fired up to clear out lots of clutter from your rooms, computer, old files…Let me know how it goes. 😍

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I measured out enuf salt for the major rooms of the house.. put it where we meditate so it can absorb vibrations of peace. Then i distributed it around the house. Lets see. So how many days do we leave it?

        Also this bell thing, what do you with it ? And how does that work?

        Thank Brigid ..hope you are feeling better, when is next injection?

        Love bella

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Bella. I usually leave it 2 to 3 days but you might intuitively feel it needs longer. The bell is part of a professional spaceclearing ritual but playing nice meditative music will lift the energy or CHI too. My next injection is tomorrow.x

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Such a lovely energy in this post, Brigid. I recall clearly the feelings inspired in a small shop with a few of those Balinese Priest’s Bells, several years ago now – an enchanting sound. They were beyond my budget, however, as were most of the things in that shop, many of which used sound to raise the vibrational tone of a space.

        The photo of the “Offerings class with Iput and Njurah” inspires peace and centeredness simply by looking at it. Kudos on this Bali post, and I look forward to the next two – I hope you will be posting them to the Senior Salon as well to remind us all to check back for them.

        A comment on a previous comment:
        If something so simple as putting a small dish with a tablespoon of salt in each room of my apartment might inspire me to finish decluttering, I’ll WALK to the store for sea salt if regular salt doesn’t work. 🙂
        xx,
        mgh
        (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
        ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
        “It takes a village to transform a world!”

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Bless you Madelyn. Yes the bells were fairly expensive but I just had to have them. I look forward to hearing how you go with the salt. I shall post the next two Bali stories together on Senior Salon in two weeks time. I have been unwell an I shall be away next week for some rest and recuperation. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’m sorry you are not feeling well. Good for you for taking self-care R&R time and I hope you are feeling better soon.

        I will be out of pocket shortly myself, but for a much happier reason, so Salon linking in two weeks is actually perfect for me, however.

        A long-time friend whom I haven’t seen in years is arriving Sunday (laundry & cleaning!), then we are leaving to spend a few days in a cabin in Kentucky early Monday morning. My first “vacation” in many years, so I do NOT intend to take technology of any sort with me (or even give it a thought).

        I am planning to set out the salt right before we leave, and I will report on how it goes on my return.
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Thanks. I am looking forward to it greatly.

        Sam & I have stayed in touch in the decades since we became close in college, but mostly by phone. I didn’t even get a chance to ring in on this trip – except for adjusting the timing and insisting that it be dog friendly so Tink can come too. When he heard how long it had been since I’d taken time totally OFF, Sammie called to say he was coming to “kidnap” me and whisk me away. Period!
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful post, it is filled with all my favourite things and authors, there is a feeling of peace and a longing to travel to Bali (I’ve never been!) after reading your words! Looking forward to reading more!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. Bali is quite special. There are so many beautiful things happening every day that gladden the heart. Most of them are free. You can also join yoga classes, healing classes of every kind, get pampering massages for very little, enjoy lively good and kind gentle people.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you Brigid. I will pass on the message to him. I moved to a self hosted site. So if you click the icon on the last hand side it takes you to the website. And thanks for stopping by.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh Brigid Bali seems to be a good place to spend. I was amazed to see the observations. The place you stayed seems to be awesome.
    I envy the bell, as I like bells of various types and this one is Awesome I can imagine the sound coming out of it.
    Good Post
    Thanks
    Shiva

  4. Hello Brigid,
    Such a gorgeous travel piece from you. Sound healing and the wisdom of the ancient rituals are certainly things we can take on board into our everyday life. And you have, incorporating your Priest’s bells into your healing centre.
    I’ll read more in your book…
    Great post, thank you 💐🌟🌟

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What an adventure Brigid, spiritually inspired. Love, love this post, it has made me even more excited about our trip to Bali. I will definitely be checking out the Balinese Priest’s Bell. Ganesha has been dipping into my thoughts over the last few months so I was thrilled to read of your private prayers and offerings.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry no. I did lots of research via the Internet. It depends what you like to see. I love creative and healing activities so Ubud was ideal for me. Other people go for sports and outdoor pursuits so the Gillingham islands might suit. How about Lonely Planet or similar guide?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi there Brigid! I am looking forward to reaching this section of the book. I am not as far as I would like–it’s the end of the semester so a bit bogged down with reading essays. But I am enjoying, I am just a bit slow. In theory, I need to embrace SLOW. And I will once summer break hits. 🙂 By the way, I am at the section where you have purchased your first home, just finished that chapter. Looking forward to more insights, and I adore your quotes at the end of the chapter. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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